The State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered by Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, did not meet expectations and was mere empty talk. Apart from the development of a few harbours in coastal towns, the expansion of the car manufacturing industry and the erection of 14 factories in East London, the Premier did not really say much more than in his previous SOPA.
Like last year, the Premier jumped from one idea to the next in the hope of finding a sustainable way to create more jobs for the youth. He relies entirely on institutions in the province, like the car manufacturing industry, to create job opportunities.
Mabuyane bragged about the first VM car manufacturer that is 100% Black Economic Empowered (BEE). With an unemployment rate of 39,5%, he should rather focus his attention on creating a favourable climate that will attract investors to the province and create more job opportunities for the people, regardless of their skin colour.
A staggering R630 million was invested in building new regional offices in Aliwal North and Queenstown with the aim of ensuring better coordinated service delivery. The Premier is naive to think that building new offices will increase service delivery and productivity.
No plans to turn around the dysfunctional municipalities in the province, to improve service delivery or to eradicate corruption were announced. That is extremely worrying seen in the light of the fact that the Makana municipal council was ordered to dissolve by the Makhanda High Court because it was unable to deliver the most basic services to Makhanda (Grahamstad) and its surrounding towns.
The provincial government's decision to allocate an annual allowance to each of the seven kings in the province is unacceptable. The decision was made after pressure was put on the government because the Zulu king receives an annual allowance of R70 million. The province should have allocated that money to the Department of Education or Health.
The Premier and the ANC government also have zero political will to make the unpopular decision to cut back on the province's exorbitantly high wage bill, which comprises approximately 62% of the entire budget.
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